LAS VEGAS -- Hybrids come in many shapes and sizes as PC makers struggle to figure out the best way to combine the practicality of a laptop with the potability of a tablet. Some have screens that bend over backward, others detach their displays, and still others slide or swivel their screens around.
One of the more interesting late-2012 versions was the Sony Vaio Flip line, which literally split is display panel horizontally down the middle. The lid folds back along that line, allowing the screen to tilt back, either to a kiosk mode, with the screen pointing out from the back of the system and away from the keyboard and touch pad, or with the lid pushed shut to form a slate-style tablet. Unlike the thematically similar Lenovo Yoga, the keyboard ends up on the inside in this design.
Joining the existing 13-inch and 15-inch models is a new 11-inch version called the Vaio Fit 11A Flip PC. Smaller and lighter than the previous Flip PCs, this new ultraportable model weighs 2.8 pounds, and makes use of the same Sony TV Triluminos technology that has already worked its way into other Sony laptops.
On the plus side, design options include your choice of black, silver, or pink for the aluminum chassis. The keyboard is thankfully backlit, something often left out of smaller 11-inch laptops, and the system includes an active pen stylus. I'm less enthusiastic about the Intel Pentium quad-core processor, although that will at least be paired with SSD storage.
The Sony Vaio Fit 11A Flip PC, which includes a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements 12, starts at $799 and will be available in late February.